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Case Studies Leadership Programme

The IOC-IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum

By 16 September 2021No Comments

Gathering top leaders in international sport every year, the IOC-IF Gender Equality in Leadership Forum aims at increasing gender balance throughout international sports.

Co-organised between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) – provided a platform for IF leaders to discuss the IOC’s Gender Equality Review Project findings and recommendations, share best practices to adapt to their own organisations, and seek new solutions to improve gender equality in sports leadership.

Brief outline of the initiative

The Forum is an opportunity to come together, define policies, set goals, and share best practices. In particular, it allows discussing ways to develop strategies for a gender-balanced representation in governance bodies.

In 2018, the one-day event included the presentation of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project recommendations. This programme covering 25 areas of focus to promote gender quality across international sports was introduced by IOC President Thomas Bach. Three interactive panel sessions stimulated much discussion with the themes of the Electoral Process, Gender Equal portrayal in the media, including females in meaningful decision-making roles, as well as useful best practice examples within the International Federations and their member National Associations.

In 2019, the IOC-IF Gender Equality Forum took place under the motto “Making a difference together”. Fifty representatives in charge of gender equality and inclusion in their respective Winter and Summer Federations collaborated and exchanged concrete mechanisms to implement the IO Gender Equality Recommendations. In addition to table discussions, participants received from the IOC a thorough update on the status of implementation by the IOC of the recommendations of the Gender Equality Review Project.


1 day


Once a year


Internal funding from the International Olympic Committee



Key elements


Women and men

Country of origin


Country/Region of implementation


Number of participants


Core objective of the Programme


Actions implemented

☐ Internal Diversity & Inclusion Strategy for a safe workplace with equal rights
☐ Commitment of men - please specify: 20% men included in the program
☐ Personal development training
☒ Role model highlighted
☒ Networking (women network, men network or mixed)
☐ Mentoring (unique or mixed gender, please specify)
☐ Coaching (ability to inspire and grow people/Foster emulation/ Being influential)
☒ Events (sharing with other companies) - please specify:
☐ Other - please specify:


☐ Online e-learning Module
☐ Online seminar
☒ Workshops
☒ Conference
☐ Self-Assessment tool
☐ Consolidated educational/training programme
☐ Other, please specify:

Identified Key Success Factors

- Part of a wider strategy with long term focus
- Financial capacity to host it regularly

Transferable bites/elements


"If we are here it is because we can make a difference. We can remove the barriers that have maintained a status quo for longer than we want to admit. Why, because our core business is sport – and sport can be and is a catalyst for change."

Ingmar de VosInternational Equestrian Federation (FEI) President and IOC Member

"The forum today provided a good opportunity for IFs to share insights and discuss the mechanisms needed to implement positive change in their respective organisations."

Marisol CasadoPresident of the International Triathlon Union and IOC Member

"Today is about us embracing the new gender equality recommendations and applying them to each federation’s specific situation. We know this is complex. Every Federation is different, with a different historical, cultural and geographical context. In my view, striving for gender equality within our organisations is interlinked with good governance. It is not about ticking any boxes, but about developing a favourable culture and then implementing certain principles consistently across all organisational policies and activities."

Andrew RyanASOIF Executive Director

Organisation’s strategy to adress Women Empowerment

Since the creation of the Women in Sport policy, the IOC has organised regional seminars and workshops throughout the five continents. These seminars aim to give greater visibility to women and sport issues and to encourage the NOCs, Continental Associations, International and National Federations to step up their work in this area. The seminars and workshops have four objectives:

1. Advocacy Contribute to raising awareness about the various issues related to women’s participation in sport;
2. Information-sharing and evaluation of progress Provide participants with up-to-date information and statistics to evaluate progress made by the Olympic Movement in gender equity;
3. Networking Provide participants with a platform for contacts, share ideas and experiences and educate each other; and
4. Development of action plans Assist participants in identifying and implementing key actions and strategies for their particular organisation.

Source of information: Interview + Online documentation

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An initiative selected as a case study of the SWinG library of leadership development initiatives.  

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